What the food industry put on their packaging can be confusing at best, misleading at worse. They can give consumers a false sense of eating healthy; leading them to eat more processed and packaged foods – which ultimately lead to a slew of health issue that our nation is facing right now.
- Fortified, enriched, added, extra, and plus = nutrients such as minerals and fiber have been removed and vitamins added in processing.
Look for 100% whole-wheat bread, and high-fiber, low-sugar cereals.
- Fruit drink = probably little or no real fruit and a lot of sugar.
Look for products that say "100% Fruit Juice", and consume in moderation. Even better, eat a piece of fruit instead.
- Made with wheat, rye, or multi-grains = have very little whole grain.
Look for the word "whole" before the grain to ensure that you're getting a 100% whole-grain product.
- Natural = the manufacturer started with a natural source, but once it's processed the food may not resemble anything natural.
Look for "100% All Natural" and "No Preservatives.”
- Organically grown, pesticide-free, or no artificial ingredients: Trust only labels that say "Certified Organically Grown” and look for the USDA seal.
- Sugar-free or fat-free: Don't assume the product is low-calorie. The manufacturer compensated with unhealthy ingredients that don't taste very good and, here's the kicker, have no fewer calories than the real thing.
- The term “whole grain” is allowed to be used very loosely. The nutrition value of flour made from whole grain is quite different from when you eat the grain in its entirely – such as when you cook quinoa, brown rice, or millet.
I don't know about you but I can sure tell when my blood sugar starts to fall. First I notice a little bit of hunger, or maybe I don't notice until suddenly that feeling of hunger is overwhelming. Then one of two things happens next: I eat anything that's not nailed down or I become an irritable bundle of Grouch! Even if I can get past that and eventually eat an appropriate meal, my energy is shot for the rest of the day. This is one trigger to avoid if you are serious about your weight loss!
Hypoglycemia – a fancy name for low blood sugar level. Hypoglycemia occurs when:
- Your body's sugar (glucose) is used up too quickly
- Glucose is released into the bloodstream too slowly
- Too much insulin is released into the bloodstream
Although it is most common in people with diabetes, it can happen for healthy people from time to time as well, especially when there is big fluctuation in blood sugar level, or if a person hasn’t eating for a long period of time.
Skipping meals, not eating enough during meal, genetic tendency for low blood sugar and not compensating by adding extra meals or snacks can all contribute to hypoglycemia. High sugar foods or high glycemic foods can trigger an excessive insulin release, suddenly bottoming out blood sugar levels.
There are a few ways to alleviate mood issues caused by hypoglycemia:
Eat meals that are low in glycemic load: substitute refined grains with whole
grains, include a generous amount of vegetables, and a moderate amount of
protein and good fats which can slow down the absorption of carbs.
To keep blood sugar level even, experiment with having 5 – 6 small meals or snacks
a day, instead of 3 big meals. Add protein to every meal or snack.
Avoid ,as much as possible, all processed foods, and anything that contains sugar and
You can avoid this trigger by taking charge of your food plan and your health! Weight loss and maintaining your ideal weight comes down to the choices you make to fuel your healthy, active, and slender body!
To keep your digestive system humming smoothly, there are three main strategies that you can follow:
*Adding probiotics to your diet to build healthy gut flora
*Eat alkalinizing foods to balance your blood pH
Removing toxins from the digestive tract, especially the colon, can facilitate digestion,
absorption, nutrient assimilation and elimination. Detox can double up as an elimination diet, during which you eliminate certain foods from your diet and add them back in after a week or two, one by one, to see if you are allergic to certain foods – some of these sensitivities can irritate and damage intestinal linings, causing leaky gut syndromes or other digestive ailments.
Here are a few examples of cleansing and detox protocols:
[More details can be found in Digestive Wellness by Liz Lipski, p.134 – 138]
Fruits and Vegetable Cleansing
Vitamin C Flush
These protocols should be conducted with the supervision of a wellness professional to ensure safety and efficacy.
At home, you can try carrot and apple juice (aids colon detox), or starting your day with a cup of warm water with juice of half a lemon first thing in the morning on an empty stomach (supports liver).
Healthy Gut Flora
Add foods that are rich in probiotics into your diet, namely cultured and fermented foods, examples include:
Yogurt and kefir
Alkalinizing blood pH
Create an alkaline internal environment – it is particularly great for facilitating elimination:
“Green juice” made from algae, spirulina, leafy greens etc. (You can get them in powder
form in canisters or packets)
Lemon juice in warm water, most effective when taken in the morning on an empty
Fruits and vegetables – besides the alkalinizing properties, the fiber can aid
elimination while the enzyme from raw fruits and vegetables can aid digestion
Sometimes it's not the major events that wear me out, it's the little accumulations of things that don't go my way or startle me or just seem to be more than I can wrap my arms around. We live in a demanding and busy world. I don't know about you but I jam pack my life with everything I can. I run from one expereince to the next. I fill my life with lots of exciting things. I place a lot of demands on my own time. And then somehow I am surprised when I am exhausted. How did that happen?
In response to a stressful situation, our body secretes the stress hormone cortisol, which alters our physiological response. Cortisol helps us cope with acute stressful situation by increasing blood levels for energy mobilization, increasing appetite, converting fat to energy, suppressing reproductive system, and stimulating immune organs to cope with bodily injury.
However, if the level of cortisol is chronically elevated, it results in a number of negative and destructive effects, including: visceral fat deposits, memory impairment, insulin resistance, osteoporosis, mood swings, changes in sleeping habits, various digestive issues, neuromuscular complaints as well as immune system impairment – leading to autoimmune disease and increased metabolic disturbances.
Besides making us much less able to enjoy life and much more unpleasant to deal with, chronic stress can cause a cascading series of physiological response in our systems that lead to serious health issues in long run:
- Nutrient deficiencies due to decrease in nutrient absorption and increase in excretion of certain minerals
- Increased chances of cardiovascular disease by increasing LDL, triglycerides, high blood pressure and aggregation of blood platelet
- Reduced good gut flora, which can lower immunity and cause digestive issues
- Reduced metabolism and increased fat storage, leading to weight gain
- Decreased healing ability
- Increased oxidative stress which increases premature aging
So how to cope? Take a Stress Break
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Even during the wonderful months of summer, we can get overwhelmed with life's demands. Does it sometimes feel like going on vacation is more stressful than your every day life? The week before leaving on vacation and the week after returning from vacation often undo the quiet relaxation of the vacation itself.
Do you find yourself coming back to your work and your usual routine feeling jangled and on edge? Is that first week back fraught with overwhelm and exhaustion?
Taking care of your nervous system can help you restore and replenish your energy, stay focused without the caffeine jitter, and feel calm and relaxed so that you can get the rest you need when you need it.
Here are 4 approaches to help care for your nervous system for increased energy:
1. Strengthen the nervous system with herbs such as burdock, dandelion, gingko, nettle, oaks and Siberian ginseng.
2. Encourage calm and relaxation with chamomile, valerian, lemon balm and oats.
3. Explore coffee alternatives such as Yerba Mate, green tea, black tea, or Rooibos (African Red Bush) to avoid the caffeine jitter.
4. Calcium has a soothing effect on the nervous system. Eat calcium-rich food for dinner (e.g. leafy greens, bone broth). If you take a calcium supplement, take it with dinner. An alternative is to use a soluble calcium packet in your water and make sure you are fully hydrated with 60-80 ounces of water in your day.
A little self care can make all the difference in your abiltiy to cope with stressors and bounce back from challenges.
Are you grumpy early in the morning? Do you crash after lunch? Do you have all the energy you need to get things done in your day?
I find I am very sensitive to those blood sugar crashes. You know, the ones that come when you push past your usual lunch break to meet a deadline or squeeze in one more task, or in my case, one more client? I can run on the adrenaline of the session, but when it's over, so am I. I hate that stopped in your tracks feeling. I always have more I want to get done and when I let my blood sugar crash, I know I won't accomplish more in that day. It feels like someone turned my brain off.
To minimize spikes and crashes in energy level, you want to make sure your nutritional intake supports a sustained flow of energy by limiting fluctuation in blood sugar level. An even blood sugar level can also help you improve your focus and concentration, and help you prevent mood swings caused by hypoglycemia.
Here are 5 tips to use nutrition to support a sustained flow of energy:
1. Eat meals with a low glycemic load – combine whole grains and vegetables (high fiber foods) with a moderate amount of good fats and lean protein.
2. Eat foods rich in B vitamins, such as whole grains and nutritional yeast.
3. Eat just the right amount and type of protein for your body – keep a food journal to see how much protein works best for you.
4. Stay hydrated – dehydration often causes fatigue and headache. How much is enough? Divide your body weight in half. That's the number of ounces to aim for in a day. (If you weigh 150 lbs, you should drink 75 ounces of water each day!)
5. Avoid caffeine, which worsen blood sugar fluctuation. A little natural caffeine is good for the brain; just don't run on caffeine as a source of energy!
Can't figure out how to incorportate these tips into your lifestyle? Check out our group coaching offer for practical help. Sometimes you just need a weight loss coach to make it all fit!
Ever wonder what the true Return on Investment is when someone stops smoking? If you're a smoker, you won't be motivated to quit by the money alone. Overall money is a poor motivator for any change. We adjust to expenditures after an intital resistance to the change. How many times have you heard a smoker complain about the cost of cigarettes as they buy another pack? Thye money alone won't make a difference.
But what many smokers don't recognize is the return on their investment when they finally decide to stop smoking. I had this point illustrated to me recently when one of my former clients shared some actual figures with me.
Ron just passed his one year anniversary as a non smoker. His intial investment for hypnosis to accomplish that goal was $250.
Ron smoked one or one and a half packs per day. At $5.00 per pack, Ron broke even on his investment after his first month as a nonsmoker. In the past year Ron saved $2700 simply by not buying cigarettes.
Ron went even further. He's a Financial Planner, so he checked his insurance rates to see if he now qualified for a change in his premiums. He had a life insurance policy of $250,000 at a monthly premium of $206. After one year as a non smoker, he qualified for a reduction in his premium to $115 per month. That would be a savings of $1092 to keep his policy at the same value. On a whim he asked what doubling his policy to $500,000 would cost now that he is a nonsmoker. For an increase of $17 per month he doubled his life insurance policy . That's an anual investment of $204.
So Let's consider the math: An intial investment of $250 to stop smoking gave Ron a virtual pay raise of $2700. That year of saving $2700 made him eligible for a $500,000 life insurance policy for an investment of $204. He could have opted to keep his insurance policy the same and saved an additional $1092 for a total savings (or additional income) of $3792. Was it worth it? We haven't even touched on his health, the happiness of his wife and family, the pride he feels in his own accomplishment, and the freedom from a destructive habit. All of these are hard to place a monetary value on.
If you could invest $250 to get back $3792, would you consider that a good investment?
Tired of feeling tired? Get moving. The more active you are the more energy you have. It doesn't take a marathon to get results in your mood, your health or your brain finction. Can you find a small amount of time in your schedule? Can you find five to eight minutes a couple of times in your day. Set yourself up for successful exercise by carving out two, three or four periods of time in your day and creating "exercise moments" during these times.
I like dancing in my kitchen. It's my favorite way of adding exercise into my busy day. I keep a couple of CD's of my favorite fast beat music in my kitchen. While I'm waiting for that pot to boil or my food to finish cooking I turn on the music and let myself move. The style of my dance steps doesn't matter. I just let myself go all out. I move my arms. I jump or swing or high step. Depending on the music, two or three songs give me a good eight minutes of active exercise.
Do you have stairs in your house? Use the lower step as your aerobic equipment. Put on your favorite tunes and step away!!
Want to include a little strength training? Use the wall in your kitchen to do pushups. Use canned vegetables as hand weights. You don't need special equipment or a gym membership. You don't need a full hour in your day. You just need more active movement than you are currently doing. Weight loss doesn't happen overnight, but increasing your activity has immediate results for your health, energy level and mental clarity.
Set yourself up for success by making it easy to be more active. Keep your walking shoes visible and convenient for you to put on after work. Take a brief walk when you come home. Even 15 mminutes will clear your head and improve your brain function. Keep your resistance bands next to your favorite chair. Use them during one of your TV shows. Using your muscles increases your level of fitness.
What creative ways will you find to incorporate more activity into your day?
Recently I've noticed my posture is less than upright. A glance at my reflection in a mirror or window reveals slumped shoulders and a protruding chin. 'Who is that?', I wonder. As an alternative medicine practitioner, I guide my clients to better body awareness, consistent self care and a daily routine that promotes optimum health. Both with hypnosis and with other models of self care, I encourage health in at all levels of one's being. Yet here I stand with chest collapsed forward, shoulders slumped, lower back curved and the resultant ache that comes from this lazy stance. No doubt the result of long hours at my computer or desk, but no excuse.
The solution? A good morning stretch is an excellent way to begin! Standing with feet shoulder width apart, reach to the sky. Welcome the day! A good deep breath to accompany your words of gratitude for the blessing of this day. As you exhale slowly allow your body to gently roll forward. Pay attention to keeping your lower back flat - like a table, as your arms come parallel to the floor. Then lower your arms to the floor and let your body relax. The weight of your head is a natural traction for the muscles and spine of your neck and upper back. Pause and take another deep breath at the bottom of the stretch. As you exhale slowly roll upward from the bottom of your spine, imagining the movement of each vertebrae as you lift yourself upright. Allow your arms to relax as you roll each vertebrae in your upper back and neck to an upright position. Finally raise your head upright to look forward to this new day!
And another deep breath as you delight in the gift of your healthy body. Setting your mind for gratitude and health, breath in clean air. How will you set your intention for this day? How will you make your body healthier and your mind clearer on this day? Is today the day to stop smoking, eat healthier or practice gratitude in every thought? What is your intention for the precious blessing of this day?